Saturday, February 26, 2011
Cotton Threads of various colours like red, yellow and white are tied around Pipal tree trunks especially in Northern and Western parts of India . This ritual is performed especially on the Vat Savitri puja day (May – June). During Vat Savitri Puja, the Banayan or Pipal Tree symbolically represents Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The root of Vat Vriksha is Brahma, the stem is Vishnu and the upper part is Shiva.
The Pipal tree plays an important role in the famous story of Satyavan Savitri. It is believed that Satyavan spend his last moments under a Vat or Banyan tree on the full moon day in month of Jyeshtha. And Yamraj appeared here and Savitri pleaded with Yamraj under the Banyan tree.
In memory of this event, women go round the Banyan tree for 108 times tying threads and fast for the health and longevity of their husbands.
There are also other hidden symbolic meanings – one such meanings is narrated by Bhagwat Shah of PushtimargThe Pipal tree represents the tree of life and is sacred in Hindu Religion. It supports life of all sorts and is famous for its long life. The pipal tree also has the property to purify air.The cotton thread is just the opposite The cotton thread represents the fragile nature of life, love, trust, faith – and all things that go on to make up a relationship. A single thread may be weak, but, when it is wound 108 times around the trunk, it becomes strong. It is no longer so fragile and no longer easy to break.By walking around the tree 108 times, the wife contemplates on these matters. Love can only be strengthened by trust, faith and desire to make it work! With each step, the woman strengthens her relationship with her husband. She prays not just for her husband’s long life, but an enduring relationship that will last beyond this life and into the next.
Peepal tree is considered highly sacred, as people are of the belief that Lord Vishnu and many other Gods used to reside underneath it. Peepul plant is regarded as the representation of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The tree is also believed to be associated with the Mother Goddess during the period of Indus Valley civilization. People revere the Pipal tree and also perform a puja in its dedication.
The botanical name of Peepal is Ficus religiosa. This holy plant is known by different names in different languages like Bodhi in Sanskrit, Piplo in Gujrati, Al or Aryal in Malayalam etc. It is said that peepal tree protects mankind from the evil eye and also keeps away dreadful dreams. Mentions have been made about the holiness of Peepal tree in Vedas. Well, apart from its religious significance, Peepal tree is also known for its medicinal value. To know about the benefits and uses of Peepal plant, read on…
Origin of Peepal
Tree In the Hindu religion, Peepal tree has a lot of reverence and significance for people. People worship the tree and perform a puja. But, nobody really knows anything about its history & origin. Well, there are also some interesting legends associated with the Peepal tree. The tree is known for its heart shaped leaves that have long narrowing tips. The origin of peepal tree can be traced back to the times of Indus Valley Civilization (3000 BC - 1700 BC) in the Mohenjodaro city.
Peepal tree is of great medicinal value. Its leaves serve as a wonderful laxative as well as tonic for the body. It is especially useful for patients suffering from Jaundice. It helps to control the excessive amount of urine released during jaundice. The leaves of Peepal are highly effective in treating heart disorders. It helps to control the palpitation of heart and thereby combat the cardiac weakness.
The Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa) or Bo-Tree (from the Sinhala bo) is a species of banyanfig native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina. It is a large dry season-deciduous or semi-evergreen tree up to 30 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 3 m. The leaves are cordate in shape with a distinctive extended tip; they are 10–17 cm long and 8–12 cm broad, with a 6–10 cm petiole. The fruit is a small fig 1-1.5 cm diameter, green ripening purple. The Bodhi tree and the Sri Maha Bodhi propagated from it are famous specimens of Sacred Fig. The known planting date of the latter, 288 BC, gives it the oldest verified age for any angiosperm plant. This plant is considered sacred by the followers ofHinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and hence the name 'Sacred Fig' was given to it. Siddhartha Gautama is said to have been sitting underneath a Bo-Tree when he was enlightened (Bodhi), or "awakened" (Buddha). Thus, the Bo-Tree is well-known symbol for happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. Today in India, Hindu sadhus still meditate below this tree, and inTheravada Buddhist Southeast Asia, the tree's massive trunk is often the site of Buddhist andanimist shrines. The Hindus do pradakshina (circumambulation) around the sacred fig tree as a mark of worship. Usually seven pradakshinas are done around the tree in the morning time chanting "Vriksha Rajaya Namah" meaning salutation to the king of trees.
Plaksa is a possible Sanskrit term for the sacred fig. According to Macdonell and Keith (1912), it rather denotes the wavy-leaved Fig tree (Ficus infectoria).
In Hindu texts, the Plaksa tree is associated with the source of the Sarasvati River. The Skanda Purana states that the Sarasvati originates from the water pot of Brahma and flows from Plaksa on the Himalayas. According to Vamana Purana 32.1-4, the Sarasvati was rising from the Plaksa tree (Pipal tree).
Plaksa Pra-sravana denotes the place where the Sarasvati appears. In the Rigveda Sutras, Plaksa Pra-sravana refers to the source of the Sarasvati.
Traditional Medicinal Uses
Ficus religiosa is used in traditional medicine for about 50 types of disorders including asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, gastric problems, inflammatory disorders, infectious and sexual disorders.
The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo (from the Sinhalese Bo), was a large and very old Sacred Figtree (Ficus religiosa) located in Bodh Gaya (about 100 km (62 mi) from Patna in the Indian state ofBihar), under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, is said to have achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi. In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed. It takes 100 to 3,000 years for a bodhi tree to fully grow.
The term "Bodhi Tree" is also widely applied to currently existing trees, particularly the Sacred Fig growing at the Mahabodhi Temple, which is a direct descendant of the original specimen. This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimagesites. Other holy Bodhi trees which have a great significance in the history of Buddhism are theAnandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi tree.
In Buddhist chronology
The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri Maha Bodhi. According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude. A shrine was later erected on the spot where he stood, and was called theAnimisalocana cetiya.
The spot was used as a shrine even in the lifetime of the Buddha. King Asoka was most diligent in paying homage to the Bodhi tree, and held a festival every year in its honour in the month of Kattika. His queen, Tissarakkhā was jealous of the Tree, and three years after she became queen (i.e., in the nineteenth year of Asoka's reign), she caused the tree to be killed by means of mandu thorns. The tree, however, grew again, and a great monastery was attached to the Bodhimanda called the Bodhimanda Vihara. Among those present at the foundation of theMahā Thūpa are mentioned thirty thousand monks from the Bodhimanda Vihara, led by Cittagutta.
To Jetavana, Sravasti
Buddhist recounts that while the Buddha was yet alive, in order that people might make their offerings in the name of the Buddha when he was away on pilgrimage, he sanctioned the planting of a seed from the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya in front of the gateway of JetavanaMonastery near Sravasti. For this purpose Moggallana took a fruit from the tree as it dropped from its stalk, before it reached the ground. It was planted in a golden jar by Anathapindika with great pomp and ceremony. A sapling immediately sprouted forth, fifty cubits high, and in order to consecrate it the Buddha spent one night under it, rapt in meditation. This tree, because it was planted under the direction of Ananda, came to be known as the Ananda Bodhi.Then he ate six grains of rice.
To Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
According to the Mahavamsa, the Sri Maha Bodhi in Sri Lanka was planted in 288 BC, making it the oldest verified specimen of anyangiosperm. In this year (the twelfth year of King Asoka's reign) the right branch of the Bodhi tree was brought by Sanghamittā to Anurādhapura and placed by Devānāmpiyatissa his left foot in the Mahāmeghavana. The Buddha, on his death bed, had resolved five things, one being that the branch which should be taken to Ceylon should detach itself. From Gayā, the branch was taken to Pātaliputta, thence toTāmalittī, where it was placed in a ship and taken to Jambukola, across the sea; finally it arrived at Anuradhapura, staying on the way atTivakka. Those who assisted the king at the ceremony of the planting of the Tree were the nobles of Kājaragāma and of Candanagāma and of Tivakka.
The trees of previous Buddhas
According to the Mahavamsa, branches from the Bodhi trees of all the Buddhas born during this kalpa were planted in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on the spot where the sacred Bodhi tree stands today in Anurādhapura. The branch of Kakusandha's tree was brought by a nun called Rucānandā, Konagamana's by Kantakānandā (or Kanakadattā), and Kassapa's by Sudhammā.